The 2020 presidential campaign has begun, and since the inception of the modern primary system, there have never been as many Democratic candidates in the field. Here’s the list of those hoping to win the chance to take on President Trump in the 2020 election.
- Michael Bennet, Colorado senator
- Joe Biden, former vice president
- Cory Booker, New Jersey senator
- Steve Bullock, Montana governor
- Pete Buttigieg, South Bend Indiana mayor
- Bill de Blasio, New York City mayor
- Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary
- John Delaney, former Maryland representative
- Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii representative
- Kirsten Gillibrand, New York senator
- Mike Gravel, former Alaska senator
- Kamala Harris, California senator
- John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor
- Jay Inslee, Washington governor
- Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator
- Seth Moulton, Massachusetts representative
- Wayne Messam, Miramar, Florida, mayor
- Beto O’Rourke, former Texas representative
- Tim Ryan, Ohio representative
- Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator
- Joe Sestak, former Pennsylvania representative
- Eric Swalwell, California representative
- Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator
- Marianne Williamson, author based in California
- Andrew Yang, entrepreneur based in Manhattan
Colorado senator elected in 2009
- Spent seven years in the private sector where served as director of the Anschutz Investment Company
- In 2003, Bennet became the chief of staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
- Left Hickenlooper’s office in 2005 to become superintendent of the Denver Public School system, where he helped pass a merit pay system for teachers
- Appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar in 2009 and promptly re-elected the following year
- Issues: Public option for health care, climate change, immigration, education
Bill de Blasio
New York City mayor
- Elected to a second term in 2017
- Represents 8.6 million constituents
- Issues: Immigration, climate change, minimum wage, education, mental health reform, health care
Former vice president and senator from Delaware
- Although he is widely known for his tight-knit relationship with President Obama during his time in the White House, Biden served in Congress for 35 years and ran two unsuccessful campaigns for president.
- Biden decided to launch an underdog campaign for one of Delaware’s Senate seats in 1972, eventually beating a 12-year incumbent. His surprising victory, however, was overshadowed by tragedy. Biden lost his first wife, Neilia Hunter, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, to a car crash days before Christmas.
- During his long tenure in Congress, Biden solidified himself as one of the most influential members of the Senate, leading the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees during different terms.
- Biden sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008, dropping out during the primary in both. After Biden left the 2008 race, Mr. Obama picked the Delaware senator to be his running mate.
- After Mr. Obama’s historic election, Biden resigned from the Senate to be sworn in as vice president in 2009. Over the years, he was a loyal advocate for Mr. Obama’s policies and the two developed a strong friendship.
- In May 2015, his eldest son, Beau, died at age 46 after a battle with brain cancer. Beau’s death was one of the reasons his father opted not to run for president in 2016, a decision he has repeatedly said he regrets.
- He launched his 2020 bid on April 25 with a video criticizing Mr. Trump for his response to the Charlottesville riots.
New Jersey senator elected in 2013, and former Newark mayor
- Booker says he is running to restore “civic grace in America.”
- He first gained prominence as the young and charismatic mayor of Newark, New Jersey, from 2006 to 2013.
- He has introduced a bill to study reparations for descendants of slaves.
- Was a chief architect of the First Step Act, a criminal sentencing law signed by Mr. Trump in 2018.
- Issues: Has made criminal justice reform and the decriminalization of marijuana his central issues, and also says environmental policy will be high on his agenda.
- Before his current tenure as governor, he served as Montana’s attorney general for one term
- During the 2016 election, when Mr. Trump won Republican-leaning Montana by nearly 21 percentage points, Bullock was reelected by a 4-point margin
- Issues: Supported same-sex marriage, net neutrality and held pro-choice views on abortion. He also worked with the Republican-controlled legislature to push through some of the most sweeping campaign finance reforms in the country.
South Bend, Indiana, mayor, elected in 2011
- Served in Afghanistan as member of Navy Reserve while he was mayor. At 37 years of age, is the youngest of the contenders, and is also openly gay and married;
- Took on Vice President Mike Pence, an ardent foe of gay marriage. “[I]f you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator,” he said in April.
- Unsuccessfully attempted to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee after the 2016 election.
- Speaks often about his Christian faith.
- Issues: Has focused on improving higher education and health care. Has also proposed a plan to add six seats to the Supreme Court in an effort to reduce judicial partisanship.
Former Housing and Urban Development secretary and former mayor of San Antonio
- Focused on stabilizing housing market and preserving affordable housing in the wake of the financial crisis.
- Is the identical twin of Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro.
- Served in the large ceremonial job of mayor of San Antonio before joining the Obama administration as HUD secretary.
- If elected, would be first Hispanic president.
- Issues: Is the first Democrat to have released a comprehensive immigration plan. Says he is also focusing on affordable college and health care.
Former Maryland congressman
- Was the first candidate in the field, declaring in July 2017.
- Co-founded two profitable companies, both of which are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Issues: Has promised to support only bipartisan bills during his first 100 days in office if elected. Priorities include ethics reform in government. Has also promised to launch a $500 billion national affordable housing program, and also favors a carbon tax to combat climate change.
Former Alaska senator between 1969 and 1981
- Staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, Gravel was perhaps best known for reading the “Pentagon Papers” into the public record.
- Ran for Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 on a left-wing, anti-war platform. Briefly achieved viral celebrity due to his pugnacious debate performances and eccentric campaign ads.
- Issues: At age 88, says he is not interested in winning the presidency, but is running anyway to highlight issues he feels are important. Favors a non-interventionist foreign policy, direct democracy, and universal health care.
New York senator since 2009 and former New York representative
- Elected to an upstate New York U.S. House seat in 2006, she was chosen to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacancy created when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009.
- Considered a moderate in the House, she became more liberal after her promotion to the Senate.
- Known as a stalwart critic of Mr. Trump.
- Issues: Highlights many women’s issues in her candidacy. Has fought to bring attention to sexual assault in the U.S. military. Favors “Medicare for All” and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Minnesota senator, elected in 2006
- Says she was inspired to become politically active after she was forced to return to work one day after giving birth.
- Was resoundingly reelected in 2018, winning numerous rural districts that had supported President Trump in 2016.
- Had viral moment during questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. At one point, when she asked if Kavanaugh had ever blacked out from drinking, he retorted: “Have you?” Kavanaugh later apologized for the outburst after Klobuchar noted her father struggled with alcohol addiction.
- Issues: Considered a relative moderate in the field. Has criticized progressive proposals such as “Medicare for All” and the “Green New Deal.” Says she favors affordable health care, election security and cutting prescription drug prices.
Former Colorado governor and Denver mayor
- Began his career as a geologist and later became a successful brewpub operator, with 15 locations in Colorado.
- Was a pro-business governor who emphasized consensus building.
- Has struggled to explain his beliefs, such as whether he is a capitalist or a socialist; has settled on emphasizing background as entrepreneur.
- Hates negative ads so much he vowed not run any negative ads during his gubernatorial campaigns.
- Issues: Signed expansion of Medicaid in Colorado; oversaw legalization of marijuana, though he personally opposed it. Says he wants to bring consensus-style governing to Washington.
Hawaii representative, elected in 2012
- Is an officer in the Army National Guard who served in Iraq.
- Has questioned whether Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad ordered chemical attack on his own people, and in 2017 attracted controversy by meeting with him in Syria. Remains unwilling to say that Assad is an adversary of the U.S.
- Endorsed Bernie Sanders for president in 2016, resigning her post as DNC vice chair to do so.
- Was the first Hindu member of Congress.
- Issues: Says her main issue is “war and peace.” Would end what she says are “America’s interventionist wars of regime change.”
California senator, elected in 2016; former California attorney general
- Has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration and has subjected Trump nominees like Brett Kavanaugh to fierce questioning.
- As California attorney general, created a reentry program for nonviolent, first-time drug offenders to help bring down recidivism rates.
- Was elected to the Senate in 2016.
- Is the daughter of a Jamaican father and and Indian mother.
- Issues: Advocates for criminal justice and immigration reform; wants to give U.S. teachers a $13,500 average pay raise; has introduced middle- and lower-class tax cut measure.
Washington governor and former Washington congressman
- Was an early proponent of reducing greenhouse gases and reducing fossil fuel usage.
- As governor, has challenged Trump administration policies, including the travel ban, through lawsuits.
- Was originally elected to the House in 1992, then lost his seat in the next election before mounting a political comeback.
- Issued a moratorium on executions in Washington in 2014.
- Issues: Climate change is the center of his campaign. Also supports the legalization of recreational marijuana use and an increase in the minimum wage.
Miramar, Florida, mayor, elected in 2014
- Unseated 16-year incumbent and became first African-American mayor of Miramar.
- Was a starting wide receiver on 1993 NCAA championship Florida State University team.
- Says he would eliminate gun violence nationwide by the end of his administration,
- Issues: Has passed living wage legislation in Miramar; proposes forgiving all student loan debt and repealing Trump tax cut.
Former Texas representative
- Attempted longshot campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 and failed, but managed to attract impressive crowds and donations and performed better than any Democrat running for statewide office Texas in decades.
- Backed Tim Ryan’s bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader.
- Advocates universal background checks, magazine size restrictions and other gun control measures.
- Issues: Central issue for the El Paso Democrat is immigration. Supports a path to citizenship for DREAMers and opposes building of border wall.
Ohio representative elected in 2002
- Launched an unsuccessful bid to replace Nancy Pelosi, then House minority leader, in 2016;
- Has broken with his party to support GOP-supported fracking measures;
- Began his career in politics as an aide to Rep. Jim Traficant, whom he replaced when Traficant was convicted of corruption charges;
- Issues: Wants to revamp the health care industry; would try to revitalize economies of Rust Belt communities, change tax code, bring electric auto manufacturing to Midwest.
Independent Vermont senator and former congressman and mayor of Burlington
- Identifies as a democratic socialist.
- Unsuccessfully ran for office numerous on a socialist third-party platform numerous times in the 1970s before being elected mayor of Burlington.
- Ran for Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton and won several major contests.
- Is one of two independents in the U.S. Senate.
- Opposed the U.S. war in Iraq, and remains a critic of American military interventionism.
- Issues: Defining issue is economic inequality. Introduced “Medicare for All” bill in 2017 and 2019.
Former Pennsylvania representative
- Retired Navy admiral who received two Legion of Merit awards, among other distinctions
- Launched his campaign on June 24, 2019, less than a week before the first Democratic debate
- Walked across the state of Pennsylvania as part of his 2016 congressional campaign against Sen. Pat Toomey
- Issues: Citing his more than three decades of military experience, Sestak says he wants to “restore America’s leadership in the world” by rejoining the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.
California representative elected in 2012
- Does not plan to run for Congress while running for president, although he’s suggested he may change his mind if his campaign falters early on.
- Has been one of Mr. Trump’s most outspoken critics.
- A frequent guest on cable news shows.
- Issues: Gun safety is his top agenda item.
Senator from Massachusetts, elected in 2012
- Was a law professor at several colleges, including the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard.
- Was the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.
- Won her Senate seat in 2012 after Republicans blocked her bid to take control of the CFPB.
- Considered one of the foremost progressives in Congress.
- Was a registered Republican until the mid-1990s.
- Issues: Favors more financial regulation and an expansion of government services. Has embraced “Medicare for All,” new taxes on the wealthy, and the “idea” of the “Green New Deal.” Has what is widely considered the most detailed and specific policy platform.
Author of self-help books and promoter of “New Age” spirituality
- Seven of her twelve books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.
- An activist, founded the nonprofit group Project Angel Food, which brings food to the seriously ill, and worked closely with HIV and AIDS patients in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Has also advocated on behalf of various anti-war causes.
- Issues: Williamson believes the federal government should spend hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 20 years on reparations for African Americans. She is also a critic of the U.S. economic system, explaining that her views are similar to Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
- Founded “Venture for America,” a nonprofit that teaches young people to work at start-ups.
- Launched his campaign in November 2017.
- Is the fourth Asian American to run for president.
- Issues: Supports the implementation of a Universal Basic Income, which he calls the Freedom Dividend, which would give money to all Americans. Also favors Medicare for All and the hiring of a White House psychologist to work on mental health issues.